Thursday, July 8, 2010

On Romance

The challenge for next week's meeting is to write non-cheesy, non-cliche romance. I look forward to hearing what everyone comes up with.

However, I am not participating in this challenge (speaking of which, I need to write something to bring...).
Why is this?

Because I don't believe there is such a thing as non-cheesy, non-cliche romance. And (of course) I'm going to tell you why.

What is the definition of cheesy? 
Well, when it comes to romance, it's usually honest and/or poetic dialogue. 

What is the definition of cliche?
Something that has happened/been done so many times before that people are over that plot line.

And what about romance?

Romance has literally been around as long as humans have been. Yes, it's come a long way since the days of "Hey! You're an available (male/female)! Let's mate!" but it was around at the beginning of our species, and it still happens today.

There have been an awful lot of humans since the beginning of our species. That's a lot of coupling. I would argue that the various generic "plot lines" have all been enacted by various couples so many times that they have all become "over-used," making it cliche. Even the people against cliche romance are cliche, because there's been loads of them as well.

Every romance is its own story, but there's only so many general paths to tread. The details and the outcome will be different, but if you zoom out, it's basically one of a set many of different things. So all romance is cliche.

Now let's move on to cheesy.

I am a girl, and most of my friends are girls, and I don't know the opinions of my guy friends on this matter, so keep that in mind while reading the next part of the post (and the above).

We read/watch/hear about so much romance, whether it's intentional or not; fictional or not; willingly or not, that "cheesy" romance is subconsciously embedded in our brains to some degree. So even if we don't expect our own romances to match it, we still treat it that way in our minds. If you do it right, you're not disappointed when it doesn't turn out to be a fairy tale, but the undercurrents remain. 

No, the knights don't sweep the princesses off their feet anymore, but the mental image is still there, and we ascend into the realms of metaphor.

So if all romance is still cheesy to some degree within our minds, when writing from first person, it's not possible to write a non-cheesy romance. On the surface it might be "non-cheesy" and "non-cliche," but on the inside, it still is.


  1. As someone who is participating in the challenge I agree with you that romance is always a little cheesy or clichéd. My goal is to write a good romance. I gave up on writing a non-clichéd one when my best idea was, and I kid you not, encouraged love.

  2. A good one- now THAT is a good goal, and one I believe is possible.


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